NEW DEEP SEA HYDROTHERMAL VENT COMMUNITIES IN THE SOUTHER OCEAN
The study was performed in the depths of East Ridge Scotie (Antartic Ocean) by ROV (Remoteley Operated Vehicle), a vehicle operated by remote control, which has enabled it to capture the amazing images. Despite the depth and temperature, there is a rich biodiversity down there
Unidentified octopus at 2,394 m depth.
Actinostolid sea anemones surrounded byVulcanolepason a chimney with diffuse hydrothermal venting at 138, 2,396 m depth
Undescribed peltospiroid gastropod surrounding singleKiwa sp. and partially covered byLepetodrilussp. The pycnogonid Sericosurais at the bottom right of the image ( 2,608 m depth)
Antarctica’s Mountains Revealed by Sharpest Map Yet
by Christine Dell’Amore
Buried under miles of ice, Antarctica’s mysterious mountain ranges are coming into sharper focus thanks to a new map.
Created by the British Antarctic Survey, Bedmap2 drew upon millions of new measurements of the frozen continent’s surface elevation, ice thickness, and bedrock topography from a wide variety of sources collected over several decades.
Due to technological advances, Bedmap2 is also higher in resolution, more precise, and covers more of the continent than the original Bedmap, produced more than ten years ago, according to Charles Webb, deputy program scientist for cryospheric sciences at NASA headquarters. Earth’s frozen regions are collectively called the cryosphere…
Long, long ago, O Best Beloved, the ancestor of the penguins could soar through the air. So why did the penguin give up flight? Rudyard Kipling never wrote a Just So story with an answer, but now scientists have one: The penguin doesn’t fly because it would rather swim.
A new study of murres, penguinlike seabirds that retain the ability to take wing, shows just how costly and inefficient it is to be both a diver and a flyer. The new findings back the long-held hypothesis that penguins gave up the heavens more than 70 million years ago to become kings of the waves.
“This study contributes a lot by putting hard numbers on the energy costs of moving through both the aerial and aquatic realms,” writes Daniel Ksepka of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, who studies penguin evolution and was not involved with the research, in an e-mail…
Blood Falls, a Natural Time Capsule Containing a Unique Ecosystem
By Atlas Obscura
This five-story, blood-red “waterfall” pours ever so slowly out of the Taylor Glacier in Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valley. Geologists first discovered the frozen waterfall in 1911, and believed the red color came from algae. Its true nature turned out to be more spectacular.
Roughly two million years ago, a small body of water containing an ancient community of microbes was sealed beneath the surface of the Taylor Glacier. Trapped below a thick layer of ice, the microbes have remained isolated inside a natural time capsule, in a place with no light, oxygen, or heat.
The trapped lake has very high salinity and is rich in iron, which gives the seepage its red color. A fissure in the glacier allows the microbial subglacial lake to flow out, forming the falls without contaminating the ecosystem within.
These king penguin chicks were pictured in early spring of this year in the colony at St. Andrew Bay, South Georgia. King penguins colonize in huge groups, and this colony is more than 100,000 penguins strong. Park regulations mandate that only 100 people may be ashore at any one time and must stay 10 meters away from the colony.
The park asks that visitors “Take particular care not to disturb, or shift, moulting king penguins.”
Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) are the only mammal that dares to swim long distances under sea ice, traveling up to 20 kilometers in hour-long bursts as they scan for air holes and an eventual exit somewhere in the midst of vast Antarctic sheets.
There, mothers give birth so that their pups will be safe from leopard seals and killer whales. But how do those pups learn to navigate the risky underwater terrain so quickly? They’re born with big brains, according to a study published online and in an upcoming issue of Marine Mammal Science…
To catch Antarctic toothfish, you must bait your hook with Peruvian squid and cast it into the depths of the Ross Sea. This is what a team of Ukrainians did on a fishing trip near Antarctica. But sometimes, Mother Nature trips you up. Sometimes, you catch a hopbeard plunderfish.
In 2009-2010, Ukrainian mariners happened to pull up three fish that looked unfamiliar. Further analysis found that they were a previously undiscovered species, dubbed the hopbeard plunderfish and described in a study published online April 29 in the journal ZooKeys.
The fish bear the scientific name Pogonophryne neyelovi. The strange-looking denizens of the deep have brownish-splotched bodies and are shaped somewhat like tadpoles, especially when young, according to the study…
The largest penguin species, the Emperor Penguin, has an adaptation in its bones (which is special amongst bird species) that allows it to survive deep dives for food. Do you know what that adaptation is?
The bones of the Emperor Penguin are solid, rather than hollow, which eliminates the risk of mechanical barotrauma that would otherwise occur during deep dives with pressures up to 40 times that found on the surface. Most bird species have at least some bones that are hollow, or pneumatized, allowing for flight.
Some penguin species, like the Emperor Penguin, and the Ostrich, do not have these hollow bones. Notice, these are the bird species that do not fly.
(via: Biodiversity Heritage Library)
image from The American natural history; a foundation of useful knowledge of the higher animals of North America, 1914, by William T. Hornaday
Acclaimed Documentary ‘Chasing Ice’ to Make Television Debut
The story of renowned Nat Geo photographer James Balog’s quest to document the fast decline of the Earth’s glaciers.
culptural, architectural and stunningly beautiful. The world’s glaciers are one of nature’s most impressive and enduring backdrops — epic in size and grandeur. They are also a massive, undeniable casualty of climate change. Now, internationally acclaimed photographer James Balog has captured hundreds of thousands of majestic glacier images that serve as unprecedented visual evidence — grabbing at the gut and allowing us to visualize the change firsthand.
CHASING ICE, winner of best cinematography at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, documents Balog’s three-year quest to capture the natural world in transformation. Placing 26 time-lapse cameras in Iceland, Greenland, Alaska and Montana, Balog’s lenses bear witness to the tension between the huge, enduring power of the glaciers and their ultimate fragility as they crumble piece by piece into the ocean. Compressing years into 90 arresting minutes, the film offers a breath-taking — and haunting — visual retrospective of glaciers receding at unprecedented speeds, and massive pieces of ice sheets breaking off into the ocean…
The Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta) is a medium-sized bird that ranges extensively across the Southern Ocean. It measures 90–100 cm (35–39 in) in length and 210–260 cm (83–100 in) in wingspan, making it the largest of the mollymawks (a group of medium sized albatrosses in the genus Thalassarche).
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for the establishment of increased protections in two parts of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica at an event held last night (March 18) by The Pew Charitable Trusts at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.
“The Ross Sea … is a natural laboratory. And we disrespect it at our peril, as we do the rest of the ocean,” Kerry said in his remarks at the event, which also screened the award-winning documentary “The Last Ocean,” which highlights the Ross Sea…